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The following ritual is intended to provide the opportunity to experiment with Galdr. It should not replace private exploration and study, only supplement it, and give people who might not have experimented on their own a chance to experience a different way of understanding the runes. For this reason, it may be of benefit to enter this exploration in the company of some like-minded friends. This does not mean that Galdr may not be practiced as a solitary, indeed it can, but it may be a little more difficult to gain influence from other viewpoints if one has no ready access to differing viewpoints.

A Galdr Ritual

Needful Things: An evergreen twig, a horn (or cup) for drinking, a set of runes, drink (ideally wine or mead), and a bowl.

Note: The term "Vitki" is an Asatru word for runemaster. In the context of this ritual, it simply means the person presiding over the ritual.

Preparation for the ritual: There should be (at the very least...) some meditation about the meanings of the various runes beforehand, and a brief overview of how to breathe correctly for Galdr (i.e., the same way one breathes for singing, slowly and from the bottom of the lungs.). Some prefer a ritual bath or sauna prior to any rune work. As always, we here in the Garden of the Midnight Moonchild would encourage you to explore and find the method which best suits you.

Hammer-rite: The Hammer is associated with the Nordic God Thor. Thor is also viewed as a defender, and in the mythology, his Hammer is often used to defend against hostile outsiders. So the Hammer is not only a symbol of holiness, but also of protection and therefore invoking his Hammer serves to sanctify and protect an area much like any magical circle.

There are different versions of the Hammer-rite, but typically, you can make the sign of the Hammer (an upside-down "T") by bringing both hands together downward from overhead to about waist height, this will symbolize the center stave of the "T". Then you will move your hands apart (roughly the distance of your shoulders), in a straight line that parallels the ground until they are resting comfortably and naturally in a position approximately waist high and shoulder wide to symbolize the cross bar of the "T", while saying something appropriate like "Hammer of Thor, protect and ward this sacred space and all within".

Invocation: It would appropriate to invoke Odin in his aspect of the God who discovered the runes, the God of inspiration and wisdom, the God of magic and knowledge, with the purpose of receiving his guidance as you seek to know and better understand the runes.

The Blot: A horn of wine (it is said that Odin drinks wine) should be poured, and the Vitki will hold it above his or her head while asking Odin to share in the horn. If this is a group ritual, all assembled should visualize the horn being accepted by Odin. The Vitki will then ask Odin for his guidance in the rite, and to share his wisdom with those assembled.

After the horn has been blessed, all assembled shall drink from the horn in turn, while requesting knowlege specific to the rite, for example: "May Odin guide my understanding of the runes", or "May Odin's knowledge guide me in my studies", etc.. It is important that this rite be undertaken in the spirit of active participation, and those assembled must consciously open themselves to the idea of a better understanding of the runes.

Another Important Note If it is inappropriate for anyone present to consume alcohol, they may alternatively kiss the horn before passing it on to the next participant, and in that way they are still symbolically sharing with the rest of the group.

Blessing the runes: Pour the wine remaining in the horn into the bowl. Then, dip the evergreen twig into the bowl, and gently asperge (shake small droplets from the twig) the runes. This will bless the stones for your next use.

Beginning of Ritual: As lead by the Vitki, the members assembled will begin by chanting slowly, three times, "Odin, Kenaz, Futhark". This is a practice which will symbolically acknowledge the God, and his sacrifice to gain knowlege of the runes and therefore all runemal. Additionally this chant will serve to "set the tone" for the study and meditation to come.

The Rite: The Vitki shall take up the runes in the entire Futhark and offer them to each person present. As each selects a rune, they shall then present it to the Vitki. The Vitki will take the rune while saying something about the meaning of the rune, and then the Vitki will intone the sound of the rune. All assembled (including the person who picked the rune) should then intone the sound of the rune three times.

An example would be:

Someone selects the rune Gyfu, and hands it to the Vitki:

Vitki: "A gift, an exchange, the obligation of reciprocity, a gift returns a gift."

Vitki: "Gyfu"

All assembled: "Gyfu" (repeat three times).

There are many sayings that have come to light about the runes. Some of these come from ancient Runic poems like the Edda, and some have been discovered in inscripted form on ancient stones and fortress or castle foundations. It would be impractical to try to memorize all possible rune sayings, indeed, it may run counterproductive to the nature of this ritual, which is to attain a personal understanding of runes. It may serve better to have a small chart of keywords that offer simple meanings for each of the runes.

Once the Vitki has begun the intonation and recitation of the simple keyword meanings of the rune, he or she should pass the runestone to the next member. (This assumes the membership is grouped in a circle and the stone, as with all magic and meditation that seeks to "do" rather than "undo" the preferred direction for this procession is Deosil, Sunward, or Clockwise. Upon being handed the runestone each member of those assembled could offer an insight of their own about the selected rune. As they do so, they should precede their offering with a threefold repitition of the rune name, the insight they have to offer regarding this rune, and end with another threefold repetition of the rune name.

After everyone else has been through the rite, the Vitki should select the final rune for the session and begin the final cycle of intonation and recitation.

Closing: After all present have gone through the process of picking a rune, etc., the ritual may be ended. The Vitki will thank Odin for his presence and wisdom, and his guidance in better understanding the runes.

The Vitki will then take the remaining wine in the bowl, and pour the wine onto the Earth, saying:

"From the Gods, to the Earth, to us,

From us, to the Earth, to the Gods,

A gift for a gift. Hail."